- File Size: 1323 KB
- Print Length: 320 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Sulby Hall (January 9, 2018)
- Publication Date: January 9, 2018
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B078XMBMDH
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,729 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Electric Blue: Her Shocking Rise To Stardom Kindle Edition
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Humphrey Knipe knows this world inside out, intimately and lovingly, and his character is based very closely indeed on the real-life Blue who turned it – and his own life – upside-down just a few years ago.
Reveling in this wickedly charming book – trembling each time you turn the page, what is she going to do next? – you can’t help thinking of the many ways its irresistible girl anti-hero reminds you of a female Hannibal Lecter. He’s a monster, but oh, how we love him. It’s a heck of a trick to pull off, but Humphry Knipe has done it. Rush out and buy this scrumptious book right this minute and let Blue have you for dinner.
But Electric Blue is not about Lords, or about any actual people. Rather it re-imagines the situation in fiction to give the reader an inside look at the industry and its participants. This is a well-written, absorbing tale, and no wonder: Humphry Knipe is already an acclaimed author, who previously penned the prize-winning historical novel The Nero Prediction about that most infamous of all Roman emperors. Knipe is also the husband of longtime erotic photographer Suze Randall, and he directed Traci Lords herself in two videos before it was discovered that she was underage--so he personally knows the terrain he explores in his story.
This is not a sex novel but a serious work of fiction. Knipe creates memorable characters out of the porn folk, often-frenzied beings tinged with lost dreams and melancholy hopes. He is almost like a modern day F. Scott Fitzgerald writing about "lust tycoons" instead of lost tycoons. Knipe's skill with character is what makes his book absorbing. Indeed, "action is character" in Electric Blue, to use the famous phrase from Fitzgerald's own notebooks.
"Blue" is the stage name of an underage girl who fools everybody with her IDs that make it seem as if she's in her twenties. She becomes a hardcore video sensation with her first film, entitled Nymphomania. She's impetuous, beautiful, very uninhibited (though not totally), and yet vulnerable, secretive, and pathologically restless. "Damon Luce" is a witty, dissolute, cynical British expatriate who once made a film with Mick Jagger in the 60s but now works as a porn "shooter," directing quickie smut epics but imbuing them with his artistic taste and ambitions as best he can. He likes to read Greek Stoic philosophers such as Epictetus to get a handle on the chaos of life. He directs Blue in her first film, but starts to get romantic feelings for her and becomes convinced she could be a mainstream film star. "PC Screamer" (real name "Pricilla Crasnick") is a desperate pornstress who was on the top of the hardcore heap in the 70s, but is on her way down by the mid-80s. Blame drugs, fast living, new actresses on the rise, and the inevitable process of aging. Against her better judgment--because she well knows the emotional price the porn business can extract from some people--she becomes Blue's agent. Also, she has a worried inkling that something about Blue is not kosher--maybe, those IDs. "Aaron Fine" is an ominously powerful distributor of porn movies, ready to spend money on a good investment but not a man to cross--and Blue does indeed cross him. "Ron Anderson" is a mainstream Hollywood producer with a taste for smut stars, and he has the smoothest line of baloney this side of Sunset Boulevard. He gets Blue's hopes up about being in "real" movies but his actual agenda is always his personal pleasure. "Chet" is the young guy with whom Blue hitched a ride to California to get into exotic dancing. He becomes dangerously disturbed and unhinged on drugs when Blue dumps him as soon as her career gets going. She basically just used him for a ride, just as she uses all the characters in the book to greater and lesser degrees. Does she do it deliberately and cold-bloodedly, or just because she's immature, hungry for fame, and running from an unhappy home life? Ultimately Blue remains a mystery whose true motivations and feelings remain veiled by her wild behavior and alluring beauty.
The author captures the complexity of the porn business in his tale. I can vouch for its authenticity because I have worked in the business myself since 1974, as a writer, editor, screenwriter, and director of photo shoots, among my, shall we say, various outlets of expression. Indeed, I received a free copy of this novel so that I could review it for an erotic magazine. Although I work on the East Coast and Knipe worked on the West, I've known similar types of people and dealt with them in my career. I edited an adult video review magazine and interviewed many porn stars, so I can say with authority that Knipe well captures the people and politics involved in the process of making X-rated films from box cover to completed video. His novel has the journalistic detail of a documentary.
Knipe conjures up the ambiance of the erotica profession through his use of witty dialogue and description. He describes the expression on the face of a lascivious publisher as a "smutty grin smeared like pink jam on his lips." The price that Damon pays emotionally for his work--this lover of philosophy and classical art and poetry who is now directing skin flicks--is etched as "the slow price that comes with fast money." The drug-addled PC, the one-time porn goddess full of self-doubt, is well-characterized with lines such as "She worried too much about other people, a disadvantage in a business where most people don't worry at all." When Blue first meets PC, headlining in a strip club, the girl says, "I'd give anything to dance like that." And a weary PC ruefully thinks, "I'd given anything NOT to have to dance like that." (Emphasis added.) Knipe brings careless and self-absorbed porn stars and models to life with details such as how Blue "unreeled yards more paper towel than she needed to clean up" a tiny puddle, "a wasteful habit that really annoyed PC." These aren't cardboard characters, but living, breathing people who, despite making thousands working in skin flicks, sometimes don't have enough money to pick up their laundry.
Blue is fascinated by the 1981 movie Body Heat with Kathleen Turner, that tale of a deceptive femme fatale who murderously uses people to achieve her goals. As Electric Blue progresses, you wonder just how much Blue is like that tricky vixen. We don't find out exactly, though; the author doesn't get inside Blue's head as much as he does inside Damon's or PC's--but I wish he had. The book also ends a little too quickly once it's revealed that Blue is underage and the wheels of justice begin to roll over everyone she dealt with. But overall this book satisfies, and the manner in which Knipe resolves his tale and has Blue get off the legal hook for her deception works beautifully: it has a romanticism that is true to the tormented character of Damon, who sees Blue as a kind of muse or goddess in his classically-inspired way. In a film version of Electric Blue, Damon would be a wonderful role for versatile British actor Jared Harris, who was superb as the wry and legendary fetish photographer John Willie in the Gretchen Mol film, The Notorious Bettie Page, and was notably seen in a completely different type of portrayal as a stuffy advertising executive on AMC's Mad Men.
Again, the great strength of this novel is in its depiction of people, and in describing a profession whose usefulness is most often gauged by the skill and regularity with which actresses and models, and the magazines and movies they appear in, "give loners boners" (to use a quip that Damon spouts to PC). Even that description marvelously sums up how the business has changed in twenty-five years. In 1986, porn was not the tabloid spectacle celebrated on cable tv in 2011 and chatted about in mainstream gossip columns about Charlie Sheen and his X-rated consorts. The 80s audience for porn was not seen as average folks in front of computers marveling at amateur sex sites--of course, there was no Internet then. Rather, the 80s audience was indeed viewed primarily as "loners with boners" furtively buying strokebooks or slipping into the porn theaters which still existed back then. It was an era when feminists demonized porn as crimes against women, and when the Meese Report on Pornography, issued under President Reagan, proclaimed the evil and harmfulness of erotica. To be in the adult entertainment industry then, especially on the West Coast where the laws criminalized it as a form of prostitution and pandering, was to be a fringe character, almost an outlaw. Humphry Knipe deftly describes this demimonde and its denizens in Electric Blue: Her Shocking Rise to Stardom. It may well be the first great novel about the porn business.